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World Premiere of Return of the King
By: Hemal Ashar
December 2, 2003
Mid-Day Mumbai, India
‘Movie parades that cause the capital to sing
The third in the trilogy is called The Return of the King
Wellingtonians say it is their favourite thing
This is the craze of the Lord of the Rings’
WELLINGTON: It rained hysteria in the land of the long white cloud on Monday.

The third and final part of the movie The Lord of the Rings (based on J R R Tolkien’s cult books) opened to a world premiere in the New Zealand capital of Wellington. The film’s third part is named The Return of the King.
Actors Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom wave during a parade prior to the World Premiere of Lord of the Rings — Return of the King at the Embassy Theatre on Monday in Wellington, New Zealand
As a movie made by a Kiwi (Peter Jackson) and based in the country, Lord of The Rings (LOTR) has become a global peg on which New Zealand tourism is hanging its hopes and ambition.
It has put the country on the international radar and the government is milking its popularity.

New Zealand Airways planes are painted in LOTR colours with characters faces on them. Every shop window in Wellington has a reference to LOTR. Tourists are being wooed to the country with the message: Come to Middle-Earth (where Tolkien’s book is based).

Yesterday, tourists came from everywhere to be present at Wellington’s bash — a pre-world premiere parade by the cast and crew of LOTR.

Roads were closed, shops shut early and nearly one lakh people lined the streets, hung out of balconies and stood at every vantage point to see the LOTR stars.

Kiwi hearts swelled till they looked like they would burst out of every T-shirt with pride. A red carpet was rolled out for the stars as the crowd went crazy.

‘Vigo I am pregnant’ read one banner in honour of actor Vigo Mortenson. Another young lady shrieked ‘Orlando Bloom — You Sexy Beast’ as the actor walked on to the carpet.

Actress Liv Tyler sent temperatures soaring even higher on a hot day when most Kiwis had on very little else besides their suntan lotion and a smile.

In a finale, Prime Minster Helen Clarke spoke about how the film had transformed New Zealand and called director Peter Jackson “Wellington’s favourite son”.

Maybe the PM would have been reserved in her praise if she had known that the morning before the parade Jackson was asked by the international media if he considered running for the post of PM as he was now the most popular person in New Zealand.

“I love my current job, thank you,” said Jackson to guffaws.

Liv Tyler was asked about Mortenson, who plays her love interest in the film, and she revealed, “Well, Vigo loved my ears.” Actor Elijah Wood (Hobbit Frodo) spoke about how he took back a sense of family and friendship from the movie.

A common thread ran through the press conference and the parade that culminated in the premiere. A sense of tremendous pride in everything Kiwi, as each actor praised the country and spoke about it being a place like no other.

As the New Zealanders basked in the praise, director Jackson’s philosophy, “have fun while you work” spilt into the streets. Froth and fizz came together as the hordes, some of them dressed like characters from the film, danced and sang, waved streamers and threw confetti.

The Kiwis were having a not a LOTR but a LYHR — Let Your Hair Down party and the world was invited.
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